Ángel Di María needs a fresh start and Paris Saint-Germain need a player to take them to the next level – UEFA.com explores five reasons why this is a transfer that makes perfect sense.
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Following Ángel Di María's move from Manchester United to Paris Saint-Germain on a four-year deal, UEFA.com's man in the French capital ponders five reasons why the Argentina forward could hit new heights in Ligue 1.
Di María will discover a new culture and a new language in France, but he will at least be joining two international team-mates – with whom he reached this summer's Copa América final – in Paris. Though Ezequiel Lavezzi's future remains in doubt, Javier Pastore, who made huge strides in 2014/15, is tipped to be more influential than ever this season.
They would not be the first Argentinians to make their mark at Paris, Carlos Bianchi having scored 71 goals there in all competitions, including a club-record 37 in the 1977/78 league campaign. Ossie Ardiles, Juan Pablo Sorín and Gabriel Heinze are among other Gauchos to have shone at Parc des Princes.
Chance to return to the top
Di María went to Manchester United from Real Madrid last summer as the most expensive signing in Premier League history. Despite a promising start, he never quite excelled as Louis van Gaal might have hoped, a hamstring injury curtailing his early progress. His transfer to Paris represents a clean slate and the chance to take the club – treble winners last term – to the next level. Laurent Blanc's side's ambition knows no limits, with a serious UEFA Champions League tilt surely in their sights.
A league that will suit him
The 27-year-old is seen in France as a player who has few equivalents in terms of exploiting space on the wing, beating his marker and threatening with crosses or shots. Indeed, he is the type of attacker who gets a crowd on their feet in an instant – exactly the sort Ligue 1 fans love. Defenders here, traditionally more comfortable dealing with balls in the air than stopping tricky players on the deck, will not be looking forward to Di María's arrival.
His record against French sides
Although he was not involved in Argentina's 2-0 friendly win against Les Bleus at the Stade Vélodrome in 2009, Di María will have fond memories of French football. He was one of Benfica's key men when the Portuguese side ousted Marseille in the 2009/10 UEFA Europa League round of 16. Furthermore, featuring as a substitute, he scored the only goal when Madrid defeated Auxerre in the 2010/11 UEFA Champions League group stage.
A team that needs his profile
With plenty of time left in the transfer window, it is not yet clear how Paris will line up in 2015/16. Every day brings fresh rumours, but one thing looks certain – Pastore will be more important than ever. How 'El Flaco' links up with 'El Fideo' could be central to Blanc's plans. Throw in the talismanic Zlatan Ibrahimović, Edinson Cavani and another big-name signing or two and there is the making of genuine European challengers. Di María, Blanc will hope, could be the man to quicken Paris's play and dictate the tempo on the occasions they come up against especially stubborn opposition.